Well, we have been busily working on the deck. Okay, okay, so I haven't been busily working, my husband, my father and father-in-law have been working very hard to get the deck boards down. We decided to put composite deck boards down on the platform up by the pool, to avoid the kids getting any splinters. We also knew that area would be wet a lot of the time, so we thought composite was the best option. We would have LOVED to have put composite down on all of the deck, but when we got the estimate from our local lumber yard, we decided we would rethink that. We opted to put down pressure treated deck boards on the remainder of the deck. Keep in mind that 75% of our deck, is going to be roofed over with screened-in walls! I'm also envisioning a lovely indoor-outdoor area rug in that room. Oh, how I get side-tracked.
So, when we decided to do the composite deck boards around the pool area, we learned that it was going to cost us nearly $200 for the hidden fasteners. After a little research, we decided we would give the Kreg Deck Jig a try. This Jig allows the fasteners to be screwed in from the side so they are virtually hidden. The Jig only cost us $53, thanks to E-bay, and we received it in 2 days, so it didn't hold us back from putting the deck boards down. The screws can be purchased at Lowes, and cost about $40 for 400 of them. We ended up buying (2) cases of 400 screws and the jig for about $135, which is $65 less than the hidden fasteners would have cost us, and that would have only covered the area we did in the composite. We were able to put down all of the deck boards, composite and pressure treated for $135! I really didn't want the screws to be drilled through the top of the deck boards, as that can often cause the wood to splinter. The only complaint is that it does leave a larger gap between boards, as opposed to if you had drilled the screws down from the top.
My father and hubby finished putting down the deck boards on the Fourth of July! No rest for the weary!! Then we had to decide what we were going to do for railings! Decisions, decisions! I'm extremely indecisive, and it's very difficult for me to make a decision when there are so many options, and of course when you are trying to get the most bang for your buck. We looked into vinyl, composite, iron, and finally aluminum. We really only need a very small amount of railing, but the cost was going to be $1,600 for vinyl rails. We were also told, and saw for ourselves, that vinyl isn't all that durable. Where the deck section around the pool is about 4-5 feet off the ground, it was extremely important to find a railing system that would be durable for safety purposes. Iron was problematic in that if you should have to cut the sections of the iron railing system, you would have to spray paint the ends cut, wait for them to dry, and inevitably iron will rust! For all aluminum railing, it was going to cost almost 2-3 times as much as vinyl. We didn't really want to do all pressure treated balusters and railings because it would require a lot of maintenance and upkeep...staining/painting, etc. So, after much deliberation and tons of research, we opted to buy pressure treated posts and railings, but aluminum balusters that will face-mount to the bottom railing. This way, there won't be any cutting of prefabricated railing systems, and it will be extremely rugged, and we wont' have to maintain the balusters, which let's be honest, is the most work when having to paint or stain.
So, this is what the deck looks like, as of today
The long, narrow section of the deck, that abuts to both sets of stairs will remain exposed and outdoors. The rest of the lower deck will be roofed and screened-in!
This Sunday, my hubby and father-in-law, and maybe my dad, hope to start putting up the posts and rails, and maybe the balusters. We are eager for our contractor, Joe, to come build the screen room, but he's insanely busy this summer, apparently there are lots of other people who have building projects like us! I'll keep you posted. Everything is a process around here, so bear with me!